The electronic street crossing signs for pedestrians have changed over the years. They used to flash a phrase - a white “Walk” or a red “Don’t Walk”. Recently the signs have been upgraded (to a degree) to show a red hand flashing a palm, which I presume means “Don’t Walk” (although it could be ‘talk to the hand’ in some circles). Conversely, the ‘walk’ sign is an outline of a person walking.
When my daughter started walking, I explained the meaning of these commonly seen signs so that she would understand them. She knows exactly when we should stop in our tracks and wait for the light to change and when we can proceed on our route. She knows these indications very well. So well, that she even tells strangers that they should be following the crossing signals.
One morning, on our way to school, we approached a busy intersection just as the ‘walking person’ began to flash – indicating that we should prepare to stop. On the other side of the boulevard, a mother, her enormous stroller and her 3 children approached the intersection as well. My daughter put her hand up (copying the red hand) and yelled out “Stop!” The mother laughed and halted. She made some faces to me from the other side of the street to say that my daughter was precocious (I already knew this as you can imagine). When the lights changed to walk, and we finally passed each other in the middle of the street, the mother said “She’s very cute. And she’s very protective of others!” I thanked her. Since that day, whenever we see this mom, she says hello to us and ceases promptly at the crosswalk if the light says not to walk.
My daughter has also shown her penchant for following rules by being a referee/mediator when the boys in her class wrestle in the hallway. As those little rug rats start pushing or punching each other, in swoops ‘Super Rule Follower’ to tell them, “Boys! No fighting!” It’s cute. However, I have indicated to her that she needs to stay far away from the boys because they aren’t paying attention to her. I don’t want her to get injured because she’s protecting and serving. (Let’s be honest here. Why aren’t parents telling their kids not to fight and wrestle? Why is my daughter pointing out the obvious?)
We’ve also encouraged the munchkin to cover her mouth when she coughs, sneezed and yawns. In addition to this courtesy, we have told her not to talk when her mouth is full of food. Whenever my husband and I sneeze or cough, she reiterates our admonitions “Cover your Mouth!” (Even if we are blatantly covering our mouths!) If we happen to talk at a meal, she wildly gesticulates with her adorable little finger that there is food in the offender’s mouth. She points to her mouth and states, ‘There’s food in your mouth so don’t talk!”
I was informed last week by the assistant teacher that ‘little me’ tells everyone in her class to cover their mouth when they sneeze and cough. The assistant said that it was good practice for everyone. Too often the kids didn’t do it and the teachers forget to remind them. She even said it was great that she got up to get a tissue to rub her eyes. I had told my daughter to do this after a pink eye warning went around. The aide said that my daughter was a leader to the other students. Here I was thinking that all of these practices were to protect her and not get her sick. But because she inherently enjoys enforcing the rules perhaps this is an indication to a future profession – police officer, lawyer, nagging mother or wife, smart aleck. All of them are acceptable jobs to me. Let’s just hope she grows out of her informant ways and continues to enforce rules and proper manners.